Chesapeake Energy – Peeking Behind the Curtain
Editor’s Note: They say that knowledge is power. If that’s so, then Dory Hippauf is destined to be one very powerful individual. Activists could learn a lot from Dory. Unlike the failed activists of today, Dory does not seek to build a relationship with the businessmen and politicians she covers. Rather, she seeks to pull back the curtain and let the light of public scrutiny shine on the misdeeds of these SOBs. She seems to understand that only an aroused and outraged public will apply the proper medicine to clean up a corrupt and “for-sale” political system. The one thing that the “movers and shakers” and the politicians they buy don’t want you to know is the details of what they are up to. Who would sink so low that they would put your drinking water at risk in pursuit of the almighty dollar? Dory wants you to know who. And for that we salute her for her energy and for not taking her eye off the ball. Before reading this, do yourself a favor: Go back and read Connecting the Dots part I in our December issue.
Goodwin said there are limited ways to punish a corporation. “It is not a life. It is not a being. It can’t go to jail,” he said. “The only thing that it can do is help make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.” – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin speaking about West Virginia Mine Settlement, December 6, 2011
“Corporations are people, my friend,” Former Governor Mitt Romney at Iowa State Fair. August 2011
“I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.” – Unknown
In September of 2011, Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, stood before an audience of industry regulars at a conference in Philadelphia.
“What a glorious vision of the future: It’s cold, it’s dark and we’re all hungry,” said McClendon, who co-founded Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake, the most active gas driller in the Marcellus Shale and nationwide. “I have no interest in turning the clock back to the dark ages like our opponents do.”
Many families across the Marcellus Shale play feel like they are in the dark ages. They may not be cold, they may not be hungry, but they are thirsty since their water wells turned bad, or very sick from drinking the bad water.
According to the DEP, in Pennsylvania, nearly 9-million households depend on private water wells. Pennsylvania has more fresh water wells in private use than any other state in the US.
Water Authority President Norman Wright of Plainview, Tx, said “Without water we have no future.“, upon signing a deal with T. Boone Pickens’ company Mesa Water, for the transfer of water rights on 211,000 acres of land.
DEFINE YOUR TERMS
Before we Connect the Dots of Chesapeake Energy, let’s define three terms.
Front Groups or Front Organizations – A front organization is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization, such as intelligence agencies, organized crime groups, banned organizations, religious or political groups, advocacy groups, or corporations. Front organizations can act for the parent group without the actions being attributed to the parent group.
Front organizations that appear to be independent voluntary associations or charitable organizations are called front groups. In the business world, front organizations such as front companies or shell corporations are used to shield the parent company from legal liability. In international relations, a puppet state is a state which acts as a front (or surrogate) for another state.
Astro-Turf – refers to apparently grassroots-based citizen groups or coalitions that are primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms.
Greenwash or Greenwashing - Is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that a company’s policies or products are environmentally friendly.
Front Group: American Clean Skies Foundation
American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to research and debate on clean energy. ACSF’s mission is to promote understanding and discussion of issues related to energy–to expand America’s energy options. It was founded in 2007.
The Board of Directors for ACSF consists of:
Aubrey K. McClendon
Chairman of the Board; and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Chesapeake Energy Corporation
Ralph Eads III
Chairman, Energy Investment Banking Group of Jeffries & Company Inc.
Robert A. Hefner III
Founder and owner of GHK Exploration; Author
Andrew J. Littlefair
President and Chief Executive Officer, Clean Energy
Thomas S. Price, Jr.
Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, Chesapeake Energy Corporation
Gregory C. Staple
Chief Executive Officer, ACSF
The “ACTIVITES” section of ACSF states:
The Foundation has an active energy policy and research program.
We also provide funding for energyNOW!, an editorially independent TV news magazine on America’s major energy and environmental challenges. The program is distributed nationally by Bloomberg TV and by the ABC affiliate in Washington, DC.
Connecting the dots is not always a straight line from Point A to Point B. More often than not there are many connections from Point A to other points. We’ll follow one of those connections now.
Andrew J. Littlefair, ACSF Director is also President and Chief Executive Officer of Clean Energy.
Clean Energy Fuels is a “GOLD MEMBER” of Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition.
Mr. Littlefair is Chairman of the Natural Gas Vehicle America (ngvamerica.org) and has been a board member and officer for 10 years. Mr. Littlefair was an officer at Mesa Inc. and served in various capacities for 10 years. Mr. Littlefair served in the Reagan White House from 1983–1987.
(Chesapeake Energy is also a member of NGVAmerica, as are several other natural gas drilling corporations.)
T. Boone Pickens, Founder and Director of Clean Energy Fuels.
Mesa Petroleum, Founder: On the verge of bankruptcy in 1996, Mesa Petroleum was acquired by private equity firm Rainwater, Inc., which renamed the company Pioneer Natural Resources.
Mesa Power Group, Founder: Mesa Power Group founded the American Wind Alliance in 2009.
Mesa Water, Founder: Mesa Water is ready to sell water to communities that don’t have enough for the future. The only possible market for this water is selling it to areas of the state that need it most, consistent with Texas legislative policy set with Senate Bill One.
BP Capital LP, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: NOTE BP does not stand for BRITISH PETROLEUM, presumably the “BP” denotes BOONE PICKENS’ initials.
per Wikipedia: The Pickens Plan is an energy policy proposal announced July 8, 2008 by American businessman T. Boone Pickens. Pickens wants to reduce American dependence on imported oil by investing approximately $US1 trillion in new wind turbine farms for power generation, which he believes would allow the natural gas currently used for power generation to be shifted to fuel CNG trucks and other heavy vehicles. Pickens thinks that his plan could reduce by $300 billion (43%) the amount the country spends annually on foreign oil.
Matthew “Matt” Pitzarella, contributor to Clean Skies – the Energy and Environment Network. Clean Skies is sponsored by the American Clean Skies Foundation.
Mr. Pitzarella is the Director of Public Resources for Range Resources.
At an Oil Industry Conference in Houston, TX, a group of professio assembled to discuss “media and stakeholder relations” in hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The Natural Gas Industry Corporations are concerned about their public image.
Tuesday, 8 Nov. 2011
By: Eamon Javers
CNBC Washington, DC Correspondent
In a session entitled “Designing a Media Relations Strategy To Overcome Concerns Surrounding Hydraulic Fracturing,” Range Resources communications director Matt Pitzarella spoke about “overcoming stakeholder concerns” about the fracking process.
“We have several former psy ops folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments,” Pitzarella said. “Really all they do is spend most of their time helping folks develop local ordinances and things like that. But very much having that understanding of psy ops in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania.”
In 2007, TXU Corporation proposed to build 11 coal-fired electric plants. The proposal was met with immediate opposition by “two well-known environmental groups”. Ads appeared in the papers, placed by a group called Texas Clean Sky Coalition.
Texas Clean Sky Coalition is Clean Sky Coalition which is an astro-turf group of American Clean Skies Foundation. Chesapeake Energy would later acknowledge “helping” out with several hundred thousand dollars to finance the campaign.
Group launches ‘Coal is Filthy’ ads against TXU
Campaign partly funded by large gas company targets proposal for 11 new plants
R.G. RATCLIFFE and MARK BABINECK, Houston Chronicle
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
The group’s Web site contained links to the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club and to the Texas office of the Environmental Defense Fund. Both groups said they were surprised by the ads and had nothing to do with them.
“I honestly know nothing about it,” said Ken Kramer, director of the state Sierra Club. “I’ve never heard of the Clean Sky Coalition or know who’s behind these ads.”
Jackson Williams is the executive director of the Texas Clean Sky Coalition. He declined to say who paid for the ads, other than that it was a “diverse” group of businesses.
“I’ve got everything from a chain of car washes to restaurants,” Williams said. “There’s some energy companies, too.”
Williams said his coalition is not promoting any alternatives to coal-fired plants. He said the group just wants to stop the TXU plants from being built.
“There is no hidden agenda here,” Williams said.
Late in the day, Chesapeake Energy acknowledged being part of the coalition. Chesapeake is the nation’s third largest producer of natural gas.
The Public Relations company behind the ad campaign “Dirty Faces” was Strategic Perceptions Inc. They boast, “Our political work sways the electorate, our public affairs practice is designed to sway politicians and those with political stroke.”
Beneath a photo of a blue-eyed girl with a very dirty face is a link aptly named “Guerilla Marketing Campaign, Washington DC.” , which takes you to their political page. The “Dirty Faces” campaign for Clean Sky Coalition is featured as an example of their abilities:
Clean Sky Coalition
Guerilla Marketing Campaign, Washington, DC
You touch a lump of coal and your hand turns black.
The simple, iconic message behind a 45-day campaign in Texas that helped stop eight multi-billion dollar coal plants – in their tracks. And later spread its irrefutable message to other states, then to our nation’s capitol.
There’s also a long list of political candidates who have used their services.
Links to Texas Clean Sky Coalition and Clean Sky Coalition have seemingly disappeared from the internet. Searches for similarly named groups uncovered the “North Texas Clean Air Coaltion” , which lists Chesapeake Energy as a sponsor.
CNGnow (Clean Natural Gas Now) is an industry backed astro-turf group. It’s sponsors include Chesapeake Energy, American Clean Skies, Pickens Plan, NGVAmerica, ANGA (American Natural Gas Alliance) and AGA (American Gas Association).
It’s not by chance that Chesapeake Energy’s Logo features Green, Blue and White colors. These are colors often associated with being clean, fresh, ecologically sensitive and safe. Many other natural gas corporations also have the same color scheme.
“Chesapeake is committed to promoting and conducting responsible exploration and production activities. Our goal is to reduce our country’s dependence on expensive foreign oil and carbon-heavy coal, and transition to clean-burning natural gas through the use of industry-leading operational practices and continuous technological innovation and improvement.”
ProPublica article: Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields
by Abrahm Lustgarten and Nicholas Kusnetz
ProPublica, Sept. 16, 2011, 4:35 p.m.
Exemptions from federal environmental rules won by the drilling companies have complicated efforts to gather pollution data and to understand the root of health complaints. Current law allows oil and gas companies not to report toxic emissions and hazardous waste released by all but their largest facilities, excluding hundreds of thousands of wells and small plants. Many of the chemicals used in fracking and drilling remain secret, hobbling investigators trying to determine the source of contamination. The gas industry itself has been less than enthusiastic about health studies. Drillers declined to cooperate with a long-term study of the health effects of gas drilling near Wallace-Babb’s town this summer, prompting state officials to drop their plans and start over.
One would expect an association like the American Lung Association (ALA) would, at the very least, have some concerns with the degradation of air quality surrounding gas well pads, compressor stations etc.
With enough money and the right spin on feeding public relations to the masses, even the ALA succumbs.
TAA-DAHHH…. presenting the CLEAN AIR INITIATIVE by the American Lung Association and Chesapeake Energy.
Chesapeake Energy is investing in the American Lung Association’s Clean Air Initiative because of a common concern about air quality. The Clean Air Initiative is an educational campaign that will inform the general public of the importance of air quality, and its impact on lung health, as well as empower individuals to protect our air.
“Partnering with the American Lung Association is a natural fit for us because of our shared concern about air quality. The American Lung Association is a trusted name and a leader on this issue.” —Aubrey McClendon, Chief Executive Officer of Chesapeake Energy
In August, 2011, an article appeared in the Denton Record-Chronicle reporting Breast Cancer Rate Climbs Up.
Invasive breast cancer is on the rise in Denton County and five neighboring counties, even as the incidence rate for the disease is lower in the state and falling across the rest of the nation.
According to a 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six counties in the western Dallas-Fort Worth area have the highest rates of invasive breast cancer in Texas.
The average of the six counties’ rates has risen from 58.7 cases per 100,000 people in 2005 to about 60.7 per 100,000 in 2008, according to the Texas Cancer Registry.
Because the rise in local cancer rates occurred in the same counties as those with the Barnett Shale’s most intense gas drilling development, some residents are concerned about toxic exposures.
In 2010, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality inventoried emissions sources from natural gas production equipment in all 24 counties of the Barnett Shale. The six counties with the most production equipment are Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties — the same six counties with high breast cancer rates.
Chesapeake Energy is active in Johnson County. (See map)
In October 2011, it came to public’s attention of an alliance between an Ephrata-based Breast Cancer Group and Chesapeake Energy.
Environmentalists cite health concerns in objecting to partnership between Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition and Chesapeake Energy.
Oct. 09, 2011 – by Jon Rutter, Lancaster OnLine
Matt Sheppard, Chesapeake’s senior director for corporate development and government affairs, said in a recent statement that drilling naysayers are a fringe element pursuing a bogus public health threat.
“We strongly support the work of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and invite our more thoughtful neighbors in Pennsylvania to join us in fighting a true health risk,” Chesapeake’s Sheppard said in a statement.
“We have long believed that the vocal minority of anti-economic-development activists were out of touch with the public interest they claim to speak for,” Sheppard said, “and this [brouhaha] is clear proof.”
Travis Windle, a spokesman for a Canonsburg-based industry group, Marcellus Shale Coalition, said environmentalists are making outrageous inferences about drilling and public health.
A congressional inquiry, made public in April, found that energy companies injected millions of gallons of hydrofracking fluid containing hazardous or cancer-causing chemicals, such as benzene, into the ground between 2005 and 2009.
The drilling industry maintains that hydrofracking is safe.
This is Greenwashing at its best. Chesapeake Energy is free to continue to tout natural gas drilling and processing as being safe and clean, and even has the backing of the American Lung Association and Breast Cancer Groups to prove it.
The odd couple relationship between Chesapeake Energy and “non-gas drilling groups” is not limited to the American Lung Association and Breast Cancer Groups.
Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation
Benefactor: Chesapeake Energy Corporation
Amount awarded in 2010: $1.25-million, for general operating support and youth programs.
Chesapeake Energy supports RiverFest – July 2011, Pennsylvania
Chesapeake Energy presented the Wilkes-Barre Riverfront Parks Committee $2,500 to help fund the recent Wyoming Valley Riverfest.
Greenwashing for Kids
You may recall this past July, Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, did a segment featuring the coloring book of “Talisman Terry, the Frackosaurus” . Soon after Talisman Energy stopped handing out the coloring books.
In 2008, Chesapeake introduced their coloring book featuring “Chesapeake Charlie” , the Fracking Beagle.
The friendly dinosaur has a counterpart at Chesapeake Energy, named Chesapeake Charlie. Charlie is an orange-tinged beagle whose own coloring book takes youngsters through the entire life cycle of what the Oklahoma City company calls a “clean-burning, affordable, abundant and American fuel.”
Targeting South Park fans
The Natural Gas Industry, as a whole, is extremely worried about its public image and knows handing out coloring books to your children is not the answer.
Shale Gas Industry Insider: We Are Losing the Messaging War on Fracking
Sep 13th, 2011, By fjgallagher
Today, she [Tisha Conoly-Schuller] explained, those opposed to hydraulic fracturing can no longer be characterized as environmental extremists because the movement has gone mainstream.
“The public is skeptical of anything we say,” she said.
“The favorable perception of the oil and gas industry polls at seven percent — that’s lower than Congress. The public does not believe us. We need someone else delivering our message for us.”
- …reposition the industry to appeal more broadly to young people — “The issue is serious, but we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. We need to become much more clever. Our industry is going to have to become hipper.”
- In that respect, Conoly-Schuller said, industry executives and communicators are going to have to become well versed in the use of social media and online tools.
“People that like South Park are our audience,” she said, “and we need to figure out how to talk to them. We need to figure out what works and how to get it out to them.”
Conoly-Schuller encourages the gas industry to join Facebook and other social networking sites. She wants them to make friends with South Park fans.
Inside Chesapeake Energy: The Subsidiaries.
Note: In the Marcellus Shale region, Chesapeake is known as Chesapeake Appalachia.
- Chesapeake Energy Marketing, Inc. (CEMI) Provides Chesapeake with marketing services
- Chesapeake Midstream Operates, develops and acquires U.S. midstream energy assets
- Chesapeake Oilfield Services, L.L.C. Manages companies that provide oilfield services and equipment
- Compass Manufacturing, L.L.C. Provides gas compressor packages and production equipment
- Great Plains Oilfield Rental, L.L.C. (GPOR) Supplies high-quality tools and services to the drilling industry
- Hodges Trucking Company, L.L.C. Provides field and heavy haul transportation in the Mid-Continent region
- MidCon Compression, L.L.C. Supplies and maintains natural gas compressors for daily field production
- Nomac Drilling, L.L.C. Operates Chesapeake’s Mid-Continent rigs
- Oilfield Trucking Solutions Provides oilfield-related fluid transportation
- Performance Technologies, L.L.C. Provides pressure pumping services for well stimulation treatments
- CHK Directional Drilling
- Compass Manufacturing
- Great Plains Oilfield Rental
- Hodges Trucking
- Keystone Rock & Excavation
- Nomac Drilling
- Oilfield Trucking Solutions
- Performance Technologies
American Gas for America – Not So Fast
The Natural Gas Industry waves the America flag and plays the National Anthem while touting energy independence. Natural Gas will break the “oil habit”. From Landmen knocking on your door to TV commercials, the Natural Gas Industry encourages us to do our patriotic duty – use more natural gas!
The U.S. imports approximately 60% of the oil that we consume — a dangerous addiction that costs our country $1 billion per day. This percentage will likely rise in the years ahead as oil prices inevitably increase to choke off demand in the industrialized countries to make room for burgeoning oil demand from rapidly developing countries in Asia, the Middle East and in South America. This is an addiction America cannot afford in good economic times and certainly not in the tough economic times the nation is facing today.
Speaking of national security, let’s not forget that the real price of oil is far more than the $85 per barrel that it costs today. When the American military’s cost of defending the world’s oil shipping lanes and fighting wars in the Middle East and nearby areas is considered, some experts say the true cost of oil to Americans may be over $200 per barrel. The current practice of spending $1 billion per day to import 11 million barrels of oil from foreign countries is simply not sustainable — it’s a dangerous, dirty and expensive habit that must be curtailed.
If we drill enough, suck enough natural gas out of the ground, we’ll have it coming out our, well, out of our “you-know-where”. It’s American gas for America! Cue the marching bands, wave the flag …..….not so fast.
Chesapeake Energy International Let’s Make a Deal:
CNOOC Ltd China:
CNOOC paying an initial $1.08 billion to acquire a one-third stake in Chesapeake’s Eagle Ford shale gas field, plus an additional $1.08 to fund drilling and completion costs,
Chesapeake Energy said it was selling a 20 percent stake in its Appalachian operations to raise $3.5 billion to pay down debt. Its first $600 million will come from Temasek Holdings, the investment company that owns and manages money for the government of Singapore, and from Hopu Investment Management Co. Ltd., a Chinese private equity firm.
Korea Investment Corp (KIC) Korea:
KIC said on Monday it would invest $200 million in Chesapeake Energy Co. as the US No.2 natural gas company was set to issue $900 million worth of convertible preferred stock.
Temasek Holdings Singapore:
Chesapeake Energy said it was selling a 20 percent stake in its Appalachian operations to raise $3.5 billion to pay down debt. Its first $600 million will come from Temasek Holdings, the investment company that owns and manages money for the government of Singapore, and from Hopu Investment Management Co. Ltd., a Chinese private equity firm.
Chesapeake Energy has entered into a joint venture transaction with StatoilHydro (NYSE:STO, OSE:STL). Chesapeake sold a 32.5% interest in its Marcellus Shale assets in Appalachia for $3.375 billion of consideration and retained a 67.5% working interest. The assets included approximately 1.8 million net acres of leasehold, of which StatoilHydro now owns approximately 0.6 million net acres and Chesapeake owns approximately 1.2 million net acres. Chesapeake received $1.25 billion in cash from StatoilHydro at closing and will receive a further $2.125 billion from 2009 to 2012 through StatoilHydro funding 75% of Chesapeake’s 67.5% share of drilling and completion expenditures until the $2.125 billion obligation has been funded. Chesapeake plans to continue acquiring leasehold in the Marcellus Shale play and StatoilHydro has the right to a 32.5% participation in any such additional leasehold.
Total SA France:
France’s Total SA, long established as an international oil giant, will pay $2.25 billion for a 25 percent stake in Chesapeake’s extensive lease holdings in the Barnett Shale, the companies announced Monday.
In 2009, the Supreme Court of the United States with a decision in Citizen’s United vs. Federal Election Commission expanded corporate “personhood” rights. The actual birth of “personhood” rights of corporations began in 1886, with a Supreme Court decision granting corporations the same rights as living persons under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Right or wrong, old or new, corporate personhood is here and expanding its ability to influence and craft legislation. If money is the root of all evil, then pocket politicians are the fruit.
Chesapeake Energy’s Political contributions to PA Gov Tom Corbett go back to 2004.
June 29, 2011
By WILL BUNCH philly.com
The $450,000 in campaign checks that energy mogul Aubrey McClendon wrote that fall helped elect a man he said he’d never even met – a relatively obscure GOP candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general, Tom Corbett.
That investment arguably changed not just the history but also the political direction of the state. The influx of cash helped Corbett narrowly win the closest attorney general’s race in Pennsylvania history and propelled him toward the governor’s mansion, where he has now pledged to turn the Keystone State into “the Texas of the natural-gas boom.”
The donations also spun a political mystery that may never be answered.
“The contribution occurred long before Chesapeake had any activity in Pennsylvania,” said Matt Sheppard, a company spokesman. “It is terribly misguided to imply that this contribution was made with future political considerations in mind. The [committee] . . . gave the money to the Corbett campaign without notifying Chesapeake or Mr. McClendon.”
Ummmmm….. right………Mr. McClendon didn’t know? Did Mr. Corbett know? Watergate Flashback – What did anyone know and when did they know it?
Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA):
OpenSecrets.com 2007-2008 Campaign Cycle:
Top National Donors
Based on Combined State and Federal Contributions, 2007-2008
#12: Clean Energy Fuels Corp (remember Pickens and Littlefair?)
Total Donations $18,855,650
Federal Donations $37,200
State Donations $18,818,450
#71 Chesapeake Energy
Total Donations $4,914,175
Federal Donations $480,771
State Donations $4,433,404
Followthemoney.org 2000-2011 Chesapeake Energy
Company/Pac Contribution $4,965,454
Subsidiary Contribution $79,550
Employee Contribution $1,449,884
Grand Total $6,494,889
MarcellusMoney.org 2009-2010 Chesapeake Energy
Tom Corbett: Republican $471,500
Top 5 Legislators:
Joseph B., III Scarnati Republican $16,000.00
Mike Turzai Republican 6,500.00
Samuel H. Smith Republican 6,500.00
Jake Corman Republican 4,000.00
Michael Gerber Democratic 3,500.00
Totals by Party:
Republican Party: $70,790.00
Democratic Party: $23,750.00
2011 Total Lobbying Expenditures: $1,410,000
Duberstein Group $300,000
Bracewell & Giuliani $220,000
Chad Bradley & Associates $150,000
Delta Strategy Group $120,000
And Yes,Virginia, Giuliani of Bracewell & Giuliani is none other than Former NY Mayor Rudolph “Rudy” Giuliani.
I know a guy who knows a guy …..
To advance the natural gas message it’s necessary to have people in the right places. This means someone needs to be on committees and belong to organizations.
In March 2011, Gov. Tom Corbett appointed 30 people to the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.
Governor’s shale commission is long on campaign contributors, drilling interests
Sunday, March 13, 2011
By Tracie Mauriello and Laura Olson, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
The group includes 13 people with ties to the gas industry and only four environmentalists. The others are state and local government officials and a geologist.
Thirteen of the members contributed a total of $557,000 to Mr. Corbett’s political campaigns since 2008; 12 have ties with companies whose executives or political action committees contributed another $562,000; one is the son of a $300,000 contributor. All together that amounted to just over $1.4 million.
David “Dave” Spigelmyer is the Vice President of Government Relations at Chesapeake Energy. He was appointed to the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission by Gov. Tom Corbett.
Following two rather embarrassing news articles regarding DEP violations and a gas well accident, Mr. Spigelmyer resigned from the commission.
(If you recall from Connecting the Dots: The Marcellus Natural Gas Play Players – Part 1, Terry Pegula is also a member of the Marcellus Shale Commission.)
Marcellus Shale advisory board members rack up violations
Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011
By DONALD GILLILAND, The Patriot-News
Chesapeake Energy had the third-highest number of violations at 132; Chesapeake’s vice president of government relations, Dave Spigelmyer, was appointed to the commission, but chose to step off prior to the beginning of its work.
Chesapeake Energy will investigate Pennsylvania gas-drilling spill
4/26/2011 – USA Today
CANTON, Pa. (AP) — Workers have stopped the flow of liquid and natural gas from a well that spilled chemical-laced water for two days and were to start sealing the well Friday, company officials said.
Mr. Spigelmyer later became a member of the Marcellus Shale Coaltion, an industry organization headed by Kathryn Klaber as the Executive Director. He holds a seat on the Executive Committee.
His other connections include being a former President, and now a Director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.
Not Our Fault
McClendon accused those critics of distorting the facts. He asserted there have been only a few dozen cases of methane migration of well-water supplies in northeastern Pennsylvania, and that residents were merely inconvenienced.
“Looking back, was anybody hurt? Was there any permanent or even temporary environmental damage? No, no and no. Some folks were inconvenienced, for sure, and for that we’re deeply sorry,” McClendon said. But he said the industry’s benefits – including lower home-heating bills, tens of thousands of new jobs, and millions of dollars of landowner wealth – more than outweigh the isolated cases of contamination.
He also said that new well-casing standards in Pennsylvania have largely eliminated the methane problem.
“Problem identified, problem solved. That’s how we do it in the natural gas industry,” McClendon said.
However, some residents with contaminated water wells have been forced to get their water delivered for months or years, and say their home values have been destroyed. Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that it’s investigating a fresh case of methane contamination.
As of February 2011, the Pennsylvania DEP reports Chesapeake has drilled 181 wells.
Violation Summary Jan 1- Nov 17, 2011
Less than half of Chesapeake’s well sites have been inspected.
- Discharge of pollutional material to waters of Commonwealth
- Failure to adopt pollution prevention measures required or prescribed by DEP by handling materials that create a danger of pollution
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls. Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste
- Failure to report defective, insufficient, or improperly cemented casing w/in 24 hrs or submit plan to correct w/in 30 days
- Failure to report release of substance threatening or causing pollution
- Improper casing to protect fresh groundwater
- Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.
- Polluting substance(s) allowed to discharge into Waters of the Commonwealth
- Stream discharge of IW, includes drill cuttings, oil, brine and/or silt
- There is a potential for polluting substance(s) reaching Waters of the Commonwealth and may require a permit.
Pennsylvania fines Chesapeake Energy $1.1 million
AP / May 17, 2011
Pennsylvania has fined Chesapeake Energy Corp. $1.1 million for contaminating well water and causing a tank fire during natural gas drilling operations.
The state environmental protection department said Tuesday that the well contamination fine was the largest it ever imposed against companies drilling in the Marcellus shale, energy-rich formations under the Appalachians.
Chesapeake agreed under a court-monitored consent order to pay $900,000 for contaminating water supplies and $188,000 related to a Feb. 23 tank fire at a drilling site.
Gas Drilling Emergency in Bradford County
By Jim Hamill and Sarah Buynovsky
April 20, 2011
Officials said thousands of gallons of fluid leaked over farm land and into a creek from a natural gas well in Bradford County.
Chesapeake Energy officials said Wednesday night the leak had been contained and the situation was stable.
The rupture near Canton happened late Tuesday night, contaminating nearby land and creeks.
The blowout happened on the Morse family farm in LeRoy Township outside Canton, a farming community.
Chesapeake ATGAS 2H Well Site
Leroy Township, Bradford County, PA
November 4, 2011
Overview: A Marcellus Shale formation natural gas well known as the Chesapeake ATGAS 2H Well Site in Leroy Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania experienced a well head flange failure and uncontrolled flowback fluid release on April 19, 2011. This acute event occurred while the well was undergoing hydraulic fracturing by the Chesapeake Energy Corporation (Chesapeake). Chesapeake and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concurrently completed an initial groundwater sampling event for the seven private wells closest to the well site on April 27 and 28, 2011. A comparison of the EPA and PADEP split samples showed consistency in the analytical results with the exception of the radionuclide results for one well. EPA requested that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluate the environmental data collected from the seven private wells in order to determine whether harmful health effects would be expected from consuming and/or using the well water. Treated water or bottled water is currently being provided to three of the seven residences (RW02, RW03, and RW04). Based on the available data, it is not known if future chemical concentrations in the residential wells will change. Therefore, ATSDR evaluated the currently available data against a range of possible exposure durations (acute, intermediate and chronic).
Problem identified, problem solved, Mr. McClendon? Ummmm….yeah….right.